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by Dave Todd

Fred Birchfield has been convicted of a double murder in Morgan County, TN. Is he guilty or, like so many others, falsely accused and jailed? (All photos: Dave Todd)

(Feb. 22, 2012) — The article titled “Tennessee Citizens Challenge Corruption” published in The Post & Email on 13 February 2012 put the spotlight on the fact that many eastern Tennessee counties, including Fentress, are among the nation’s foremost producers of marijuana and methamphetamine.  The information was met with considerable hostility within certain segments of the local community, including threats of violence and lawsuits, among other things.  However, I also received many new friendship requests on Facebook from among members of the local community.

Understandably, the growing of marijuana and the production of methamphetamine and/or other illegal drugs on a commercial scale provides much-needed revenue to communities which no longer have a whole lot going for them.  Counties such as Fentress, Morgan and others used to be major producers in the poultry and tobacco industry and therefore have considerable facilities and buildings that can easily and cheaply be converted to the production of illegal drugs—-people who would like to explore just what kind of possible facilities actually exist and locations of such might find “GOOGLE EARTH” a useful tool.

About a year ago, as part of a promotional effort for the proposed Justice Center, the local newspaper started publishing a Sheriff Department Weekly Activity Report.  This report was an attempt to deceive the people into believing that our current jail facility was overcrowded and therefore costing the taxpayers large sums of monies to house them out-of-county.   This weekly report, on the other hand, appears to establish that the overcrowding is intentional and a management problem since the vast majority of the individuals being held are accused of minor offenses and pose no real risk of flight or danger to the community so that they could easily be released on Personal Recognizance Bond or some other reasonable arrangement that would allow them to provide for their families.

This weekly sheriff activity report also establishes that in the year that it has been appearing in the local newspaper, there has not been any activity by the sheriff or the criminal justice system to address the commercial growing of marijuana and/or the production of methamphetamine.

Few people, if any, really want to kill the goose laying the golden egg that is providing much-needed revenue into the community; therefore, the commercial drug business is going to continue to flourish as long as our public officials, law enforcement and the criminal justice system continue to accept protection payments.

Many of the local newspapers are a joke — they envision their readers as mushrooms that can be kept in the dark and fed a diet of straight manure.  A perfect example is that on 6 February 2012, a lawsuit was filed in federal court, Terry vs. Fentress County, Tennessee, et al, and the local newspaper has yet to make the fact public.  The fact that there is an election coming up may provide an explanation for this, as some local residents get nervous when things are exposed prior to an election!

Keep in mind that many of the individuals referred to in previous Post & Email articles such as Jim Miller, Darren Huff, George Raudenbush, Walter Fitzpatrick, Kristin Rosencrats and Fred Birchfield were all involved in some way working with Christian Citizens Against Corruption (TNCCC) prior to the 2010 elections.   We now have another election coming up in just a couple of weeks, so one must wonder what kind of dirty, underhanded tricks are in store for the voters.  Or will there be more violence and abductions because the Charter Government concept is a major threat not only to the evil ones in Fentress County, but also in surrounding counties, because, if it is successful, it could spread in the coming months.

Was Fred Birchfield’s sentencing continued from 17 January to 24 February 2012 intentionally so as to provide a clear message to the voters just days before an upcoming election?  Will Fred Birchfield’s attorney, an individual named Mike Hatmaker from Jacksboro, Tennessee suddenly at the last moment file motions for a mistrial and change of venue, or will the charges be dismissed?

The incident involving Fred Birchfield also centers on the growing of marijuana and the manufacturing of methamphetamine and one flamboyant bail bondsman named Jones and an Associate named Smith. As a bail bondsman, Mr. Jones has close ties with both the criminal justice system and the criminal elements in the community.  Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith are both well-known throughout the community for wild lifestyles, wine, moonshine, illegal drugs and wild women, etc..  Fred was a newcomer to the community, having married a local woman in November 2010 and moved into her home.  Fred became concerned about some of the unusual occurrences he observed and began talking about them, which resulted in some severe hostilities, threats and intimidation being directed towards his wife and him.  Fred was perceived to be a threat, and therefore, action was taken against him, and it is almost unbelievable that he is still alive.  However, he has been locked up for 20 months, and the attorney his family managed to hire for him has not even made the most basic efforts to properly defend him. Fred’s wife has filed a formal complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility (BOPR), so it will be interesting to see just how Mike Hatmaker handles the hearing on 24 February.  It is unbelievable that any attorney would not have raised an issue when a key potential witness is found shot to death at the home of another key potential witness only four days prior to the trial date.  Then there is the issue of handcuffs, leg irons, 12 marijuana plants, illegal drugs, guns and ammo, etc. found in the pickup that was used in the attempted abduction which belonged to Mr. Jones.  There is much more to this story, but that can’t be told until after the events of February 24th are known.

If for any reason whatsoever, Mike Hatmaker fails and/or again refuses to demonstrate an impressive, highly-visible and believable defense of Fred Birchfield at the 24 February 2012 hearing, it will place the criminal justice system of Morgan County, the Sheriff’s Department, the Board of Professional Responsibility, the Court of the Judiciary as well as the local media in an awfully embarrassing position.  Any perception that Fred Birchfield is again being denied due process after having been denied it for 20 months just might open Pandora’s box and result in serious repercussions for all involved.

Is the police report on Birchfield's alleged crime accurate or a fabrication?

Likewise, if the local sheriff departments and the criminal justice system do not begin to demonstrate some kind of positive action against the commercial growth and production of methamphetamine locally, they could very well find themselves in embarrassing positions.

In several communities in this area, public officials working with some local religious leaders have organized prayer rallies — window dressing for political rallies, and as has been known for centuries, if one attempts to mix religion and politics, it is politics that usually dominates.  One cannot walk with God while holding hands with the devil.  The only way we can rid our community of corruption and abuses is for the citizens of the community to demand that our criminal justice and sheriff’s department begin to create a hostile environment for the commercial drug business.  Citizens of Fentress County now have the opportunity to move in that direction with the introduction of the Charter Government system.  But will they support it?

Expect more dirty, underhanded tricks, violence, threats and abuses because there are lots of money and power to protect.  In my opinion, Christian Citizens Against Corruption has become ineffective and non-functional as of August 2011, and many of the individuals who had been helping them expose corruption have paid a stiff price.  Will the citizens of these communities continue to tolerate corruption and the commercial drug business in their communities?

Perhaps people should review The Post & Email article “Expose Corruption and Eventually People Will Come Forward,” published on March 8, 2011.


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